OPINION: The Next England Coach – Everyone Has Their Price

The departure of Head Coach Mark Robinson leaves the ECB with some huge shoes to fill in the England camp.

The role the ECB will (presumably) be advertising is not an easy one. The Head Coach isn’t just a coach – they are responsible for running a squad which eats, works, and plays together for most of the year up at Loughborough. As well as being the head coach, you’re head of a family of twenty girls!

Oh… and you have to win cricket matches too!

On paper, the latter looks most important – England need someone with cricketing credentials, who has experience at the highest levels of the game – not necessarily as a player, but definitely as a coach.

But coaching women is not the same as coaching men – it has to be someone who understands that women are not just men with pony tails. In this regard, England massively lucked-out with Robinson, who despite having zero experience coaching women coming into the job, really did “get” this.

It is not just about the Playing XI though – it is about running a squad, which has to be constantly cultivated like a garden. The coach needs to know not just the England “team”… not just the England “squad”… but the levels below that in addition – identifying which players to bring in, and which players to sadly let go too.

That head of the family thing is pretty vital as well  – you are the boss, but you are also a counsellor, a confidante and a friend.

And finally, you have to do it all within the constraints of a fairly limited budget, at least compared to Australia, whose success you will always be measured against, as Robinson ultimately was.

Given all this, it’s amazing that anyone would want the role! (It is well paid, of course, compared to the jobs most of us do – but it isn’t in the realms of what you can earn at the highest echelons of the men’s game.)

But England need someone, and they need them fast, with the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia in less than 6 months, which will probably be closer to 3 months by the time they are appointed.

Looking around, there aren’t many candidates not currently under an expensive contract somewhere else.

But there is one.

A 3 times World Cup winner, who played 10 Tests and over 80 ODIs during a 10 year international career, who has since gone on to successfully coach at the highest levels of women’s domestic cricket, leading sides who consistently over-performed despite a limited budget.

She (and it is a she) is rated by everyone who has worked with her as a brilliant coach; and because she has worked almost exclusively in the women’s game, she knows the players, and they know and respect her.

She has a long-standing relationship with Heather Knight, who was her captain in WNCL and WBBL, and who credits her partly for becoming the player she is.

We are talking, of course, about Julia Price – Australia’s wicket-keeper during the glory-years around the turn of the century; who went on to coach Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes; and is currently coach of the USA national side.

Mark Robinson will be a tough act to follow, but “JP” ticks all the boxes.

Frankly, the ECB should be beating down her door; because they say everyone has their Price… and England should too!

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11 thoughts on “OPINION: The Next England Coach – Everyone Has Their Price

  1. If they can’t get JP why not a past player line-up of Edward’s, Greenway & Brunt to cover all obases?

    England are still a team to beat all other opponents and make the t20 final. It’s about taking the next step and developing the next generation to bridge the gap to Australia.

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    • Edwards has already said she can’t be the coach but might be interested in more of a mentoring role. The other 2 likewise, not quite ready yet I don’t think.

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  2. I have to echo your choice. An excellent player in her day, her record as a coach is of the highest order. She has one advantage over Robinson and those before him -she’s actually played the game – not ‘cricket’ but ‘women’s cricket’ and not many (although Robinson was perhaps an exception) readily understand the difference.

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  3. Gutted he has gone. We didn’t lose the Ashes series because of him so hope that’s not the reason he has gone.
    Good coach and refreshingly straight talking (more or less unique for someone employed by the ECB).
    Question – have our chances of winning the T20 world cup next year improved or diminished with this departure. I think we all know the answer.

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  4. No mention of Mark Dekker County Championship on first attempt. Ex-Test batsman, seems to to know how to win games and pick the right blend of youth and experience.

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  5. Why England team and press keep reiterating they are the second best side in the world and only issue is Australia is another level and rest of the things don’t matter. Isn’t that a wrong way to look at it. They lost last 2 ODI series to India in India. Shouldn’t the objective is to be a side that can beat everyone everywhere that includes India, Australia. Indian domestic structure seems better than England’s and young talent I see in India seem better than that I have seen so far in KSL. It’s just India needing BCCI to do something on the lines of WBBL and put money on the level immediately below the intentional level, they have all the resources to catch up with England at least as of now. So are we then going to say England is the 3rd best team in the world, nothing else is not an issue. Domestic structure needs a big reform and need to separate coach from the selectors, bring in someone like Price or even Salliann Briggs and have a panel of selectors like the men’s side. India on the other hand need someone like Robinson who can give them their Charlotte Edwards moment and take the team in a new direction.

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    • And India lost their last ODI series over here, big deal. These things go in cycles, you know. Australia won’t always be top, England may not even be in the top 3 or 4 in a few years. Who knows. The available talent waxes and wanes. And whatever is done about it may not have the desired effect in the required time. We just have to try and do the right thing – at the moment it’s not happening.

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      • That ODI series in England happened in 2014. What I am saying is the way England played in the last 2 series in India 2018 and 2019 and the ODI leg of Ashes exposed same issues with similar set of players. So it is not only the case of Australia being too good. I know the technical and structural issues probably won’t be solved in a short time, as you said hoping right things are done so that there is more teams competing for the top spot.

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  6. Not sure going down the route of recruiting someone connected to Kent’s winning season would be a god idea, so not Dekker or Greenway. Not sure Edwards will get the chance either, which would be a shame. Ideally a female someone who has been there and done it at highest level. Just to add to the debate India will become more dominant, we are in my opinion, already third best.

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    • Well Kent have won the County Championship more than any other County since it started!! County Champions 7/8 times in the last 11/12 Seasons,so the Coaching must be of a very high level.

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  7. On this site as the Women’s Ashes slipped away there was an article saying it wouldn’t be like other unsuccessful series against Australia when the captain and coach were jettisoned soon afterwards. To an Indian cricket follower the very notion that anything is more important than the World Cup would be fanciful. Yet here in England the Ashes seems to trump any global tournament in importance and it seems that after any unsuccessful Ashes – men’s or women’s – there will be a casualty of some sort, be it the coach, captain or a high profile player. As for who the new coach will be, given that Robinson was a head coach at a men’s first class county, are there 18 candidates? Would like to think that there will be a woman on the coaching team somewhere, even if not in the top job.

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